Another day, another pile of rubble.
In the months since February’s devastating earthquake, Syrian communities in the rebel-held northwest of the country have slowly cleared the debris of countless destroyed homes from their streets, but little else has moved forward.
In the days following the quake, the world watched as, across the border in Turkey, international rescue teams flew in, working against the clock with high-tech machinery to save lives. Here, no one came.
It’s now extremely difficult for journalists to get into this part of Northwest Syria. We have managed to get access for a rare visit. But, as the attention of the international community moves away to other issues, human beings living here trapped in this crisis are increasingly being abandoned by the world.
Syrians trapped in this besieged enclave that’s home to 4.5 million people were left to depend on the local civil defense volunteers known as the White Helmets, who’ve worked for years to save victims of airstrikes and shelling attacks carried out by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies.
Facing such widespread destruction, with next to no equipment, many relied on little more than their hands; 4,500 people died here in the days following the earthquake. Many of their lives could have been saved.
Maryam Khalil Sido’s home collapsed in seconds when the earthquake hit. She survived because she’d gone to the hospital. But the rest of her family was still inside. For three days, she could hear the voices of her children and husband calling for help from within the carcass of their shattered home. But help never came.
Eventually, the voices stopped.